Schlocktoberfest IV – Day 21: Hellgate

Schlocktoberfest IV

Hellgate (1989)


*Spoilers Throughout*

Hellgate-PosterWhat’s It About: Sometime in the 1950s a savage motorcycle gang kidnapped, raped and killed a diner waitress. Her father, the proprietor of a themed ghost town attraction called Hellgate, finds a magic crystal able to resurrect the dead (and do other things as well) and brings his daughter back from the grave. Four college students find more than fun and excitement when they pay a visit to Hellgate. 

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • Starring the inimitable Ron Palillo.
  • That is one terribly set-designed diner. I’ve seen better looking eatery sets in a Kids Junction.
  • Was that John Astin? Nah? Too bad.
  • How did the gang leader get an ax to the back of his head when he was facing the guy who threw the ax?
  • Horshack tells the diner waitress to pay the gas station attendant for his gas. Then he walks back to his car which is where the attendant is in the garage. Why couldn’t he pay the gas station guy himself?
  • “The ghost town got pretty delapidated pretty quickly.” That’s a pretty stupid line. Wouldn’t that pretty much help the look and feel of a ghost town?
  • Nice rubber bat effect.
  • This narration is really fucking annoying. Especially when they are basically saying what’s happening already on screen.
  • Wait. Hellgate is the name of the ghost town? I thought this movie was about a literal gate to hell.
  • There’s no way this photograph was taken in the 50s. Nice try.
  • Why does Josie’s dad look like the Pringles guy?
  • What exactly is this crystal’s power? It returned the mine bat back to life but then it mutated a goldfish into a huge fish monster that exploded after a few seconds.
  • Turtles don’t growl.
  • Yes Horshack she’s cold. Don’t you see her nipples?!
  • The sound effect for the power crystal is the same as Evil’s power from Time Bandits.
  • Why does Pringles guy have metal pieces attached to his face? Is he supposed to be Doctor Doom?
  • I’ll tell you all about why I’m late except for the part when I nearly fucked some ghostly chick. 
  • Thanks to the producers for showing a nearly naked Horshack. At least they had the common sense to try to cover his ass with the bed post. I guess they figured the ladies might have some Horshack fantasies?
  • Why is Josie still wearing the wine stained dress to sleep? Is she forbidden to change her clothes? When she was with Horshack she was able to take it off. Easily. I know, because I rewound the scene a few times.
  • This movie is either a comedy that is trying to have scares or a horror movie trying to be funny. Or a piece of garbage trying to be a movie.
Screw Balls!

Screw Balls!

  • Did Josie’s grave site really need to mention that she died at the hands of the motorcycle gang? Is there any modern gravestones that make mention of how the person died?
  • OK. This is the third time Horshack has told his friend Chuck that: “You know you’re an asshole? You really are. I really mean it.” Exactly that way every time. It’s odd because it’s not funny but they think it is.
  • Is there any real reason for Josie to seduce Horshack? Is she that insatiable and horny?
  • There is way too much classical public domain music in this flick. It’s like they didn’t have the money to spend on a proper musical score but they do have a score so why the classical music in such odd times? It just doesn’t fit a horror movie at all.
  • So now the town is full of zombies made by the Pringles guy’s crystal. I still want to know how he learned to harness the power of the crystal without making the living dead explode like that goldfish monster.
  • At this point I’m wishing the film was way worse for more entertainment value.
  • Is there a reason for the one girl to watch the can-can show? Why is there a show at all? Why is the girl sitting, drinking and watching when she knows there’s zombies surrounding the town?
  • One typically does not bleed out of the mouth when being garroted. In fact, being chocked makes anything coming or going into the throat impossible.
  • At least there’s a fair share of female nudity in this picture. Quite a lot actually. Still not worth it to watch the whole movie for though. Well almost.
  • Josie’s death plunge out of a window…in super slo-mo. Just like Hans Gruber.
  • So glad the one biker guy came by in the nick of time to take a quick laser beam to the chest while Horshack and his girlfriend have a chance to escape. Super awesomely convenient!
  • “Hey why’d we stop?” “It’s over. He’s dead.” Hahahahahaha.
  • I love how Horshack just stops the car to joke with his girlfriend when she has a huge gaping knife wound in her chest. No need for urgent care at all.
  • Oh good Josie’s still alive. Maybe they’ll make a sequel.

Is It Actually Scary: It stars Horshack. So fundamentally, no.



How Much Gore: Hellgate has none of the gores you’re looking for.

Best Scene: The seduction scene I suppose. But sexploitation aside, I’d have to admit that I watched this a few weeks ago and I don’t remember anything really worthwhile about it.

Once you pop you can't stop!

Once you pop you can’t stop!

Worst Scene: Naked Horshack having sex. Nothing against Ron Palillo per se but he’s not exactly sex scene worthy in my humble heterosexual opinion.

Any Nudity: Both Josie and Horshack’s girlfriend both show their goods. They don’t show their hell gates though.

Overall: If Bruce Campbell was starring in this, then this might be a perfect horror-comedy. It’s very hard to see Ron Palillo do a movie like this, although around the same time he was in Friday the 13th part 6 so I guess he really wanted to do more genre pictures. If this film was a little better written and was wittier (or perhaps stupider) then it would be grade-A schlock for your Halloween movie marathon. Since I had to guess that it wasn’t taking itself seriously half-way through, then I’m sorry you failed in being a horror-comedy. I honestly thought it was being serious up until Palillo’s character met up with his friends and even then I just thought they were just adding some comic relief to this picture. But I will give the film the benefit of the doubt that it was trying to ape other horror-comedies like Evil Dead 2 and Return of the Living Dead. Sadly, it just wasn’t funny enough or gory enough to be up there with the likes of those two classics. However, I would recommend it to anyone who likes horror-comedies but don’t get your hopes up too high.

Tempting. It's hard to say no.

Tempting. It’s hard to say no.

Score: 4.5 Exploding Goldfish Monsters (out of 10)

8 thoughts on “Schlocktoberfest IV – Day 21: Hellgate

  1. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest IV: Recap of Blood! | Hard Ticket to Home Video

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